Thursday, December 23, 1999
When Cops Act Badly
I wish to extend my gratitude to the editorial staff of the Seattle Weekly, and to the brave and determined citizens who participated in the Battle of Seattle ("Taking it to the Streets," 12/9).
Political and environmental agendas aside, I was appalled at the force used by the police against people exercising their right to free speech. I am not opposed to the use of necessary force in containing violence that threatens innocent bystanders and property. But I was sickened at the sight of tear gas, billy clubs and rubber bullets being used against peaceful demonstrators in Seattle.
I spent 18 months teaching at a university in the People's Republic of China in the early 1990s, when the horrors of Tiananmen were still fresh in everyone's mind. I told my students in good faith that in my country, we respect and defend an individual's right to free expression. I now feel betrayed and ashamed.
Are we to set an example of how a democracy should be run, or are we to be the coffeepot calling the tea kettle black?
Helen V. Ogden
Moved by the Movies
Salinas and surrounding communities recently had an opportunity to be a part of an exciting outreach ministry--the 3rd Annual Central Coast Christian Film Festival held Nov. 12-18 at Northridge Cinemas.
It was a tremendous success, as just under 13,000 viewed the Christian movies that were shown free of charge. Many of those who came were blessed and encouraged by the message they heard through these films.
Special thanks to all the pastors and their congregations who prayed for and supported this outstanding outreach. I would also like to thank the management and staff of the Northridge Cinemas for their outstanding cooperation. We are also thankful to TV stations, newspapers, and radio stations for their coverage of the event.
To every individual that played a role in the festival, thank you for helping to bring honor and glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The most fundamental flaw in the pharmaceuticals industry is that it is an industry at all, and not viewed as a service. We live in a sad and unfortunate corporate reality, whereby our most basic human services and staples have evolved into commodities whose primary motivation is the generation of profit.
We ought to rename the health-care business the disease business, for they depend upon your disease. Drugs-which tranquilize and temporarily alleviate suffering-do nothing to improve life or health for the long term. And, in order not to feel the financial burden of self-pollution, we have erected insurance companies to pay the bills for us, as well as determine what is and isn't allowable under their terms. One business complements the other.
We're trained to believe that our bodies and our health are fearsome mysteries, forced to rely on specialists when we get sick. A more holistic and natural approach to healing would teach us that the real cures are found by evaluating personal lifestyle and by searching for the cause of the disease rather than for temporary relief.
I urge everyone to support herbal medicine, traditional knowledge, and those who practice the art of healing. Resources are right in front of us if we want to learn and improve our lives. Choosing to embrace the pharmaceutical drug business because it's easier and readily available is both irresponsible and a lazy act of self destruction.
Your health care is your own choice. The industry can only reform its policy if we reform our habits.
Jason Benjamin Smith
That Didn't Hurt a Bit
On behalf of the Central Coast Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice, I would like to express our genuine gratitude to the 43 volunteers, 15 registered nurses, 40 student nurses, and 20 Carmel Foundation members who made VNA's 1999 flu clinics so successful.
During October and November, nearly 14,000 flu shots were given at 131 clinics held throughout the county-4,000 more shots than VNA gave in 1998. The help received from the many business sites, and the excellent media cooperation in publicizing the schedules, was invaluable.
Our hats are off to all of them. Thank you!
Norma Jo Harlacher
The Dark Side of Martin Luther
I'm presently reading a monumental tome entitled A History of the Jews. I'm delighted to read that author Paul Johnson, a Protestant, has given scholarly validity to what I've known for decades: The Jews have enriched every culture and society in which they've participated, often times to such depth and quality that no other group can compare.
Personally, I admire and envy the enduring strength and courage of the Jews. No other religiously infused culture has lasted over 4,000 years as have the Jews!
Having said this, I wish to levy a sharp criticism against Protestantism as I knew it growing up. My parents put me into a private religious school from kindergarten until high school, the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church school. This particular synod's roots go directly back more than 400 years to Martin Luther, the "great Reformationist," as we were indoctrinated to see him.
I had heard rumors for years after ex-communicating myself from the Lutheran Church about Luther's "dark writings" regarding the Jews, but it wasn't until I started reading Johnson's book that I discovered just how twisted Luther was. This was the man held up to Lutheran school kids as the closest thing to a Protestant saint, but in fact he was a unmitigated fascist pig!
In 1543 Martin Luther published a vile paper titled "Von dem Juden und ihren Lugen" ("On the Jews and Their Lies"). The depravity of this man is mind-numbing, especially when one comes to realize that the seeds of the Holocaust were planted in the collective German consciousness by Luther 400 years before Hitler and his monsters would butcher more than 6-million Jewish people.
Luther called out for the sacking/looting and burning of all Jewish synagogues. He demanded that all Jews have their homes and livelihoods taken from them. He insisted that they lose their lives in whatever means could be visited upon them. Yes, Martin Luther, that "saintly" rebel who stood up to the Pope and proclaimed "I will not recant," is the original author of one of the most savage periods of human history, the Holocaust!
What I've learned over the 36 years since I disavowed the Lutheran church is that Catholics are some of the most eclectically wonderful people I've ever met, and that if I could choose to be of any ethnic group I'd proudly be a Jew! Gee, could I be a kosher Catholic? What a great mix that would be!
Jeffrey Van Middlebrook
Last week, we incorrectly stated that Steve Henderson was running for Congress and that Marina City Councilmember Howard Gustafson Jr. was running for the Monterey County Board of Supervisors. We also misspelled the name of supervisor candidate Kathy Martins Fosmark. We regret the errors.